What recourse do I have if a dentist made my two crowns next to each other too small and now there is a large gap between them which food gets stuck in there? Would he have to replace them? He had me sign something stating that I was happy with the crowns right after he cemented them in. My mouth was numb at the time and I noticed it the next day.
– Annette from California
Getting food caught between your teeth is more than an annoyance—it can lead to decay on the adjacent teeth and will also aggravate gum disease. These are serious consequences. You could end up losing these teeth. And I believe the dentist is responsible to make this right. This is assuming that the problem is constant food impaction every time you eat. If the food gets caught only occasionally, that’s not so serious.
Just because you signed something indicating that you liked the crowns doesn’t relieve the dentist of his responsibility to make this right. There was no way for you to tell, while you were in his office, that you would have this problem.
When a dentist seats a new dental crown, he or she checks the contacts with the adjacent teeth. We make sure that there is a solid contact, and this prevents food impaction problems. If the teeth are positioned so that this contact can’t be achieved without abnormal contours of the teeth, sometimes this contact will be opened up wide open and this will also keep food from getting stuck there. If there is doubt about whether the contact is such that food will be kept out of this area, a dentist may temporarily cement a crown in order to test the contact area.
I would start with the assumption that the dentist, once you tell him of this problem, will want to make it right. He’ll have to swallow hard, because this is going to require him to remake at least one of these crowns at his expense. Give him a little time to accept this. But stay with it—insist that it be fixed, because otherwise this will cause you problems that will need to be addressed within a couple of years.
Read about dental bridges.
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